What’s the BIG DEAL about Play-doh? 🙂
Your child/student has so much going on developmentally at this stage of life. He or she should be able to pick up and put things in places with pincher fingers, hold a crayon with a proper grip (no more fist gripping), and manipulate objects like shapes for shape ball or play sets, etc. The more practice the muscles in the fingers and hands get, the more ready to write they will be.
In kindergarten, we use play-doh extensively during the first half of the year and beyond!
Students are taught how to squish and knead the doh, how to roll it into a long rope, how to shape it into letters or words, and make animals or objects with pieces. ALL of this activity exercises the much needed “grip” muscles students must have to hold a pencil and form letters.
You Should Be Doing This!
Whether you are a parent who can help give their child a head start this summer, or a teacher who can plan lessons/centers that implement “dough” for learning, there is no time like the present to get started!
Draw your child/student’s name using uppercase beginning letter followed by lowercase letters at least 5″ or bigger. Then have your child to practice driving a little toy car on the letters. Talk about them, explain we always start at the top for most letters. Then get out the play-doh. Squish it between your fingers, roll it, cut it, make a long snake, or whatever you want to make. When you are ready, help your child to form the letters by covering the letters with play-doh ropes that fit. For instance, capital B is one stick and two loops, so 3 pieces.
I usually stick with Play-Doh brand because it always cleans up easily off of surfaces.
Dollar Store brand is usually sticky. Ewww! 🙂 But if you want to use it, make sure you can wash down the surface it is placed on after play has ended.
Grab this free editable mat (link below), change the font to one you like. Here is a photo of one I have used the KB3AlphaHighway font with. This will work for mini-car driving too! I also use KG Miss Kindergarten font which is free
Here is the generic play-doh “dough” graphic editable file for customizing your own play doh name mats. Just click in the text box and change the font to suit your needs. You can also change text size. For long names, I cut off the ends of the pages and tape them together with clear packing tape.
The little mini cars can be found at Oriental Trading.
What about Paint? 🙂
Fine motor skills can really get a workout with a good paint, so let me suggest a few things!
When children paint, they see their thoughts play out on a canvas of paper, concrete or other media. It is vital for children to have time to CREATE!
One great way to paint using things at home is cornstarch, water and food coloring! My grandsons love it, and it washes off after the first rain if you are using a deck or sidewalk. Grab some small paint brushes, a muffin pan and watch them create! Here is a photo of one of my sweet grands painting! https://www.pinterest.com/maggieskinder/2018-19/
Check out my pin board for other paint options.
If you use the flour recipe, I recommend microwaving the dry flour for 30 seconds -1 minute to kill any microbial organisms that could be in the flour. That is a concern in lieu of recent food related illness in the news.
Remember…kindergarten can be/should be messy. Kids must explore to help themselves develop fine motor skills. Have fun!